Pope Francis Coming to “comfort all victims of insecurity”: Catholic Bishop in DR Congo

Catholic Bishops of Bukavu Ecclesiastical Province. Credit: Radio Moto

The Bishop of Butembo-Beni Diocese in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has said the planned pastoral visit to the country will “comfort all victims of insecurity”.

Addressing journalists on the sidelines of a meeting of the Catholic Bishops of Bukavu Ecclesiastical Province, Bishop Melchisedec Sikuli Paluku said the Holy Father will be visiting the Central African nation “as an ambassador of Christ”.

“In the Ecclesiastical Province of Bukavu, we have been plagued by permanent insecurity for over two decades. And when the Holy Father comes to see us, he comes as an ambassador of Christ,” Bishop Paluku said during the May 14 press conference in which all six Catholic Bishops of the Province participated.

He recalled the words of Christ to his apostles, “I leave you peace, I give you peace" and said that “in concrete circumstances, the Holy Father comes to comfort all the victims of this insecurity.”

“I believe that the message that the Holy Father comes to send to all, is the message that I take from the Gospel: whatever you don't want done to you, don't do it to others,” Bishop Paluku said.


Pope Francis is expected to arrive in the capital of DRC, Kinshasa, on July 2 in his two-African-nation pastoral trip that is to see him proceed to South Sudan in an ecumenical trip alongside the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, and the Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Jim Wallace.

In his four-day pastoral visit to DRC, the Holy Father is scheduled to meet the people of God in the cities of Kinshasa and Goma, the latter city being the capital of North Kivu Province in Eastern DRC.

When realized, the July 2-7 pastoral trip to the two African countries will mark Pope Francis’ third visit to sub-Saharan Africa. The journey will be the third Papal trip to DRC, which is home to Africa's largest Catholic population.

During the May 14 press conference, Bishop Paluku refuted claims that the planned Papal trip will be canceled, saying, “Pope Francis is expected in our country in July and we are preparing for that visit.”

“Catholics in Butembo-Beni are happy to participate in this historic event. Like the Christians of Goma, they are preparing for this event, and many have registered to come,” the Congolese Catholic Bishop said.

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He continued in reference to the people of God in DRC, “They know very well that the Pope carries them in his heart, the Pope who is informed of all that we are experiencing here: the cruelties, the epidemics, … I ask them to continue to pray so that the day we are waiting for will come.”

Bishop Paluku called on all Christians, through the media, to pray for the arrival of Pope Francis in DRC, and added, “Everyone without exception was invited to take part in the Papal Mass, without any deposit or price to pay.”

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.